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What is Velcade&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 17 February 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Velcade® is one of the medications that health professionals use in the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Injected directly into the bloodstream, the drug targets and interferes with specific types of cells within the body. The generic name for the drug is bortezomib.

The types of cancer treated by the administration of Velcade® are those that involve the immune system. Multiple myeloma is a cancer contained in the bone marrow, a substance that produces white blood cells. Mantle cell lymphoma is found in the cells throughout the immune system, and attacks various areas in the body. When administered, Velcade® finds the cancerous cells and interferes with the processes with which they reproduce.

This type of medication, called targeted therapy, is very specific in the cells that it attacks. In the case of Velcade®, the medication attacks the proteins of the cancer cells that sustains the life of the cell and allow it to reproduce. Bortezomib is proteasome inhibitor, named after the parts of the cell that it attacks. The proteasomes of the cell are those responsible for what is essentially the digestion of crucial proteins within the cell. When these proteasomes cannot function because of interference from Velcade®, they stop growing and reproducing.

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This medication is generally administered at a medical facility, along with other drugs or treatments. Unlike some other medications, Velcade® can also be used in individuals who are going through a second treatment for a relapsed case of cancer. Typically, blood tests are run regularly while an individual is on the medication, to make sure there is no negative impact on other bodily systems.

Side effects can include a drop in blood pressure, nerve damage, nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing. These are serious but fairly rare, and should always be reported to a health professional. As it can also cause dizziness and weakness, care should be taken when first given the drug to see how it impacts the body. Those with other, pre-existing conditions may not be able to take the drug, and it is not recommended for pregnant women.

Individuals are often instructed about measures they can take at home in order to minimize side effects. This can include drinking plenty of water and eating small meals several times over the course of the day. Guidelines for a nutritious diet may also be recommended; because cancer cells are more susceptible to inhibitors than regular cells, taking proper care of the body can help minimize any unwanted impacts on healthy cells.

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